cosmetics-lnks – 4/18/06
A set of web links to information on medieval cosmetics and perfumes by Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: liontamr at ptd.net
Subject: Links: Medieval Cosmetics
Date: April 14, 2004 10:04:12 PM CDT
To: StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
This week's Links List is about medieval cosmetics and perfume. Something
every woman holds dear to her heart. I hope you find this information
interesting. If you enjoy Jadwiga's articles on Medieval Dental Hygiene and
Medieval Scented Oils and Waters, please explore her other sites, which are
chock full of great information on related subjects. She is a terrific
person and a knowledgeable lady.
This proved to be a tough search for me (admittedly undertaken while I was
down loading interminable amounts of tax forms, but that surely didn't "tax"
my brain too much). So, if you have information along these lines, the Known
World would love to see it! Please consider publishing on the web.
As always, please USE this information, and pay it forward wherever it will
be welcome. If you forward it, consider cutting my email address off first.
It might save me the odd virus bounce or infection.
Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon
Making Medieval Style Scented Oils & Waters
by Jadwiga Zajaczkowa
(Site Excerpt) The oldest documented 'essential oil' is probably Oil of
Roses. Legends say it was first created by enfleurage, the petals being
immersed in water, the oil floats to the top. Avicenna discovered how to
produce it by distillation in the 10th century. This discovery
(distillation, especially using alcohol) spread throughout the Arab world
and slowly to Europe.
A selection of Dental hygiene and mouthwash products
from a variety of medieval and Renaissance sources
(Site Excerpt) Despite modern ideas to the contrary, people in the middle
ages did spend time trying to take care of their teeth and combat bad
breath. This entry presents a number of period dental hygiene methods and
products, with the some general comments on their production, safety and
(Site Excerpt from one message) Tournaments Illuminated, issue #73, winter
A.S. XIX, has an exellent article on pomanders and pouncet-boxes which
includes descriptions of (and one barely OOP recipe for) exactly the kind of
perfumes I described. I _think_ the CA on cosmetics also covered scents.I
suggest checking with you local library for a copy of the_encyclopedia of
the middle ages_. It's not perfect, but it will give you the basics on an
amazing variety of topics- and they give sources.
And, Costmetics :
(Site Excerpt from one message) there is a site at
might be of some use to you. It has a fair bit of info about the
Elizabethan ideal of beauty, along with some period recipes, if you're game
Scent in the Garden, by Frances Perry ISBN 086350289X
Combines a history of garden fragrance from ancient, medieval and Tudor
gardens to the present day with ideas for creating scent using window boxes,
water gardens and even a single plant in a pot. There are suggestions on
where to grow scented plants and plants for special purposes. Webb & Bower
(Publishing) London - UK Publication date: 1989-09-18
The Smell of the Middle Ages
By Jacquelyn Hodson
(Site Excerpt) Medieval man possessed a deep knowledge of and a great
appreciation for the fragrances of the natural world. Herbs, flowers and
perfumes formed a large part of every day existence and were inextricably
linked with magic and medicine. The oldest surviving English herbal
manuscript is the Saxon Leech Book of Bald written about AD 900-950. Its
wisdom formed the foundation of every succeeding English medical treatise.
In Pursuit of Beauty
(Medieval Cosmetics, Body Adornments and tattoos)
(Site Excerpt) In life, tree twigs were used to clean the teeth - and the
Anglo-Saxons may have even used the abundant southern chalk to polish their
teeth, as did the Romans. Whole body bathing was certainly not a frequent
occurrence amongst our Anglo-Saxon forbears, but hands, feet, and face were
washed daily, and hands washed prior to eating. The prosperous enjoyed
rubbing scented oils into their skin and hair, but even the poorest cottar
girl could pluck aromatic flowers and herbs and release their cleansing
scent by crushing them in her hands.
Musee de Grasse: International Perfume Museum: Perfume in the Middle Ages
Perfumery in Western Europe around the 13th century
(Site Excerpt) Musk and floral perfumes were brought to northwest Europe in
the 11th and 12th centuries from Arabia, through trade with the Islamic
world and with the returning Crusaders. Those who traded for these were most
often also involved in trade for spices and dyestuffs. There are records of
the Pepperers Guild of London which go back to 1179; their activities
include trade in spices, perfume ingredients and dyes. There are records
from the reign of Edward I to show that spices and other aromatic exotic
materials were traded in England.
Devoted to the art of body decoration with Henna
This site is copy protected, but is more of a (gorgeous) how-to than an
Colors and Scents: The Transitional Period 1300-1500
by Magistra Rosemounde of Mercia, OL
and Mistress Fuiltigherne ni Ruadh O'Finnn, OL
(Site Excerpt) The following is an excerpt from a booklet on period
cosmetics and perfumes prepared by Magistra Rosemounde. The period from
1300-1500 was a period of change in Europe and is sometimes referred to as
the early Renaissance. The dichotomy between the sexes was still of major
importance, along with the emphasis on women's stomachs, but the stylish
look was to be intelligent as well as pious. The fashion was also for women
to have a perpetual look of surprise. Height was desirable, and women wished
to be tall and slender in appearance.
Toiletries Through the Ages
A Pictorial Survey by Emily Savino (Warning: Graphics intense but worth the